There was something about the Chelsea match at Stamford Bridge which brought like a deja vu…the inevitability of defeat against a team much stronger mentally. This fixture has been a certain 3 points for Chelsea for a few seasons now if I am not mistaken.
Arsenal went into this match without their best forward (Van Persie), best midfielder (Cesc) and their best defender (Vermaelen) and maybe their most improved player this season (Walcott). But that is no excuse for being not able to take chances when it mattered. Chelsea took both their chances with ease and converted. So they were the better team as far as the result is concerned and it is high time we became a bit more result-oriented.
So when we go into the long break, we sit 4th on the table, with Chelsea slightly ahead of the rest, followed by the two Manchester clubs ahead of us. Lets just hope that we close the gap soon.
This is what happened, when we visisted Birmingham City last time. We lost a match, Gallas lost it otherwise. And at the end of that season he also lost his captaincy. From a point where we could have gone 8 points clear of Manchester United, we won only 2 matches from the next 10. So that is how we stumbled from a league winning position.
This year we are again with a chance to put fight and keep the pressure on the Utds and Chelseas. Chelsea already have Carvalho out injured which means Alex will partner Terry. Central defence seems to be a problem with Arsenal too as Vermaelen is suspended for one match and Gallas is injured. So Campbell will partner Alexander Song in the centre as Wenger would not want to take any chances with the league run in.
I hope Arsenal continue the winning run, despite Bendtner’s absence.
Came across this very very interesting series in the Guardian. It is called“The Forgotten Story of…” It covers all sports but some of the footballing ones are marvellous reads. eg. The one called Danish Dynamite, about the Denmark side in the 1980’s, Real’s 107 goal season etc etc
If there was anything that Arsenal has not been the whole season, it was clinical finishing and water tight defending. Both were on display at Stamford Bridge by the team in blue. They capitalised on the mistakes and finished off chances as they came by in the first half and for the rest of the match showed how to defend. Arsenal have had two consecutive defeats in the league, I think after a long time. The only positive I can see after the two defeats is that probably we have finished our quota of defeats for this year and can look forward to easier games ahead, maybe excluding the wednesday night clash against Liverpool.
Before the match started, I was of the opinion that if Arsenal scored first then we have a chance. The moment we conceded and the manner in which we did that, I was only praying that we do not lose confidence and concede a dozen odd goals. The team recovered from the goal and put some pressure on the Chelsea team, but we just kept passing the ball outside of the Chelsea box and could not make any shot at goal which would trouble Cech. And when we did, Arshavin hit it straight at Cech. No point in saying that, if that that goal had gone in, things would have been different and the match would have finished differently. The fact of the matter is that, it didn’t and Chelsea took advantage again.
The second goal was an example of how not to defend. Vermaelen and Clichy both left Drogba alone and it was a bit late when Clichy realised that he was the one who should go behind Drogba as Vermaelen went left to protect the box. Drogba doesn’t mess up such golden opportunities, especially in big matches like this. He is a different animal when it comes to high-profile matches. He is one hell of a gifted player, with the skills and strength. Defensively we haven’t learnt our lessons from last week.
Till Bendtner came in we were not even winning headers and I seriously do not understand the purpose of crossing from any flank when you know that the Russian who was playing as the centre-forward will not even be able to out-jump the Terry’s and Carvalho’s of the world. He has his limitations. I wonder what Wenger is planning to do. And some of the crosses were atrocious. I mean here is a left back and a right back who have played for hundreds of matches at the top level in Europe and they can’t cross. Seeing Bentley make some telling crosses in the Spurs game, made me think if we should have retained him. I know he is not a full back , but he crosses from wherever he is.
So now we play Liverpool who seem to be on the ascendancy, having collected 17 points from 21 available in the last 7 matches. This should be an interesting match as we know that we need to win this to be clinging on to that 3rd spot. A Liverpool victory will bring them very close to us and I am sure Wenger would not like that happening.
Chelsea might be carrying on with their Premier League matches in a professional manner, but Ancelloti knows deep inside that he cannot afford to slip up because Manchester United and Arsenal are running them close to top the league. And it is this this encounter today happening in North London which will be watched closely by everyone associated with Chelsea Football Club. Arsenal vs United any year will be a standout fixture for the quality of play and attacking football as it seldom is a boring match.
Ever since Chelsea came into prominence this fixture has become not-so important in the title deciding scheme of things. But this year both clubs have a chance to topple Chelsea from where it is perched right now. Alex Ferguson and Wenger seem to have mellowed down over the years and both would like to put it across the other.
Arsenal is without Vermaelen and United without Rio Ferdinand. Overall United look like the stronger side with a composed and sturdy side with a striker in prime form, in Rooney. Arsenal will hope that its creative midfield and the individual brilliance of players like Cesc and Arshavin will give it the edge. This should be an absorbing encounter, can’t miss it!!!
In a wonderful display of attacking football, Arsenal scored six goals from six different players to win against Blackburn Rovers at home. This came as a fitting tribute to Wenger, entering into his 14th year at the club with this match. Thierry Henry was also on attendance with his family to see the young Gunners take centre-stage despite going behind twice early in the match.
A 10/10 performance from our Captain Marvellous, Cesc was sexy throughout the match. He made 4 assists and scored one in a match which was probably his best in the season so far. He was all over the place. And he made it a point to the Gooners in the stadium that he is dedicated to this club and is not going anywhere in his goal celebration. What a player, what an attitude and what a vision!!!
It didn’t start all that well for Arsenal, when a pretty long free-kick taken by Robinson was headed into the goal as Mannone found himself in no-mans-land, advancing to collect the ball but not able to do so. This was probbaly his in-experience showing in the starting minutes of the match and I can only see him learning from these mistakes. Otherwise he had a wonderful match, not that he had much to do. Arsenal found parity soon through our goal-scoring machine, no not Bendtner, but Vermaelen :). He was felled near the centre of the pitch, but referee waved played-on and the ball was nicely played on to an advancing Vermaelen by Fabregas and he rocketed a shot to the right corner with his impeccable left foot.
Against the run of play, again Balckburn found the net, this time a deflection of Gallas into the goal. That was pretty much of what Blackburn could do, other than a legitimate penalty shout, which the referee did not give. Not that it mattered in the end though. Almost immediately after the second Blackburn goal, Fabregas put through van Persie, who seems to be taking these kind of goals as a regular fare these days. Please note that by this time, Arsenal were playing flowing football, with our flair players Arshavin and Rosicky involved in the thick of thinigs. Again a nice lay-off to Arshavin on the left saw the Russian squeeze a goal past Robinson. So at that time the score read 3-2.
It was not over and the second half was again Arsenal at its attacking best. And this time, Fabregas in trying to feed van Persie first and then Rosicky, got the ball back from the Czech, chested it and hit a loose left foot shot for a goal. This was a deserving finish that makes the captain our join top scorer in the league with 4 goals along with Vermaelen. Enter Theo, and he must have been barely in when a good counter attack saw Arshavin pass the ball to Cesc, who had the vision to see Walcott coming on the right to lay the ball on his path. A neat finish from Walcott was all it required and that was what he did precisely. 5-2.
The captain was substituted to a thunderous applause and in came Bendtner and Ramsey to play out the final 15 odd mins. Bendtner got time to increase his goal tally with a glorious finish with his right foot, which was a nearly impossible stop for Robinson. All’s well and that ends well. Despite letting in 6 goals, Paul Robinson had a decent game otherwise it would have been some 8 or 10 goals!!!
Top scorers for Arsenal in the Premier League
Fabregas, Vermaelen – 4 goals
van Persie – 3 goals
Arshavin, Diaby, Eduardo, Gallas – 2 goals
Bendtner, Denilson, Ramsey, Rosicky, Walcott – 1 goal